CUSCO: TOWARD A NEW REBIRTH There is no doubt that we are witnessing a powerful rebirth of the essential energies that have always remained latent in Cusco. After a long, disorienting hibernation, the fundamental questions have returned, and the answers that man possesses within himself are slowly but surely reappearing, with the master keys contained in the right symbols and words that were just waiting to be spoken. Several times in its venerable history, these answers shone, only to go dim and then glow intensely once more, leaving behind them the thunderclap of the vacuous world of volatile appearances. In the ups and downs of man’s adventures, art has played a vital role in Cusco thanks to its enormous capacity to project onto the human soul, through shapes, the suggestions that form the doorway to the most valuable part of our spiritual activities: the understanding of the meaning of existence. Ages ago, the Greeks had already arrived at the conclusion that of the five senses, sight corresponded to knowledge. Through it, the world “enters” man’s interior, his soul. Through sight, man learns from the moment he is born about shape, volume, color, and distance with regard to living beings, things, and the universe as a whole. But strictly speaking, that which enters man’s interior is not a world in itself, but rather its image. And for this reason, the key to art resides in sight, in the image, in its mastery and painstaking elaboration. This, then, is the responsibility and power of the artist. And this is why the action of the art that undertakes the rescue of significant forms is so important; those forms that have true value for man, that is, those that bring him closer to the answers that, today more than ever, attempt to once again discover a humanity that finds itself in a contradictory position, trapped between extraordinary technological process and an astonishing spiritual poverty. In the heart of this inspiring effort, we have the visual art of Carlos Bardales, who has, with incredible energy and independence, freed himself from the heavy load of our times that repeatedly tempts us with its siren’s song to artists to use languages of increasingly little interest, due to their banality and pathetic lack of sense. Bardales has instead opted to walk the disciplined path that once seemed abandoned, and which suddenly opens once more, offering up that intellectual and poetic wealth that the old legacies have preserved. In effect, we may appreciate in his work the use of traditional materials, the linking of elegant modern forms that recreate ancient ideas that are now overshadowed by triviality, the bold work of an artist in search of his own language in an interior space that unites several paths—Pre-Hispanic roads, suggestions of the Renaissance and the Baroque, the heritage of the Jewish Cabala, fusions of Western and native influences, the Cusco School of painting, today’s technology harnessed by artwork—which form an incredible heritage that is luckily being taken back up by youths who have rebelled—at last!—against the cultural stagnation and suffocation brought on by a naïve, elemental, and empoverished positivism. The texts that customarily accompany his exhibitions are proper evidence of an artist who seeks to cultivate his spirit with works of particular subtlety and depth, basing the expression of his forms on contents taken from major traditions of thought, both ancient and contemporary. We must heartily welcome this persistent and original artistic undertaking, hailing from a city and a region that contain the essential elements for discovering the transcendent. Just as long as one knows how to understand and lend an ear. Luis Enrique Tord, Barranco (Lima). Summer, 2012.